Aerial lifts have replaced ladders and scaffolding on many worksites and have helped to improve the safety and efficiency of many types of projects. However, OSHA investigates an average of 26 aerial lift-related deaths each year due to not complying with safety standards.
Here are the top 5 safety violations and hazards most commonly associated with aerial lifts:
Lack of Fall Protection
Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and fall protection ranks number one on OSHA’s top 10 most frequent violations. Workers can prevent falls by ensuring that the access gate and other openings are closed, by standing firmly on the bucket or platform, not leaning over the guardrails, not using planks or ladders while inside the bucket or platform, using a harness with a lanyard attached to the boom or bucket, and not applying too much strain when trying to access hard-to-reach areas.
Improper Aerial Lift Operation and Loading
Workers need to be well aware of the aerial lift’s capabilities and to follow manufacturer’s instructions to avoid accidents. Workers should never exceed the weight or reach limit of the boom and bucket. They also need to ensure the brakes are set, and the outriggers are used before the boom arm is raised. Never use the aerial lift as a crane or material lifting device since they are specifically designed to lift only workers with minimal equipment, such as painting or window washing supplies.
Lack of Overhead Protection
To protect yourself from being hit or struck by falling overhead objects, be sure to check the overhead clearance and overhead objects including the ceiling before operating. If you can avoid positioning the aerial lift between a potentially hazardous overhead, do so. At all times, workers should wear a hard hat to prevent being fined.
Lack of Electrocution Protection
Workers should treat all overhead power lines and communication cables as energized and to stay at least 10 feet away from them. Before getting into the aerial lift platform, make sure employees de-energize all power lines in close proximity. Inspect the surrounding work area for downed conductors and do not go near them on foot or in an aerial lift. Workers should always be equipped with insulated hard hats, voltage-rated shoes, rubber gloves, rubber sleeves and other appropriate clothing.
Lack of Aerial Lift Stability Training
One common mistake workers make is positioning an aerial lift on unstable ground. Not all aerial lifts are designed for rough terrain so being sure you are using the appropriate equipment is the first step to avoiding tip overs and collapses. Workers also need to assess the terrain to determine if it is safe to work on, or is too uneven.
There are plenty of safety tips to help avoid hazards and violations, but a lack of training is almost always behind aerial lift accidents. In an aerial lift certification class, workers will learn about the various safety hazards involved with aerial lifts in deeper depth, including how to recognize them and avoid them. It takes training to understand how to operate an aerial lift safely and to apply quick thinking in an unsafe situation.
If you’re interested in protecting your life, check out CertifyMeOnline.net to receive your OSHA-compliant aerial lift certification today.